New Spaces – high above the clouds

Originally, I’ve wanted to write a bit about my experience at the AHA conference 2014. But then, I’ve read this interesting article series by Mills Kelly about History Spaces, and I can’t help but putting my own two cents in.

I still plan on posting this other post, which I still have around four hours left to write while still on the plane. And how’s that for a new historical thinking space! A bit cramped, that’s for sure – but also kind of a timeless experience. I am somewhere over the Atlantic, sometime in the night. That is all, I can definitely say. It is kind of awesome, although turbulences can really disturb the flow.

(Ok, that’s how far I got before the guy in front of me reclined his seat and my writing space just vanished; so now I am writing the rest of this post at home at my spacious desk)

Back to the „History Spaces“ of Mills Kelly: He encourages us to think about our working spaces at the university in new contexts. And this is actually a problem, I also encountered.

You see, I really don’t like to sit alone in an office to work. It is so easy to get distracted online or listening to radio. And without being able to see the life going on around, I tend to really forget the time and spent much to long in this distracted mode. So, I’ll usually work at the library. I get distracted there, too, but then someone comes in or this is some noise, and I am forced out of being lost online and to note the time. Also, I like to think that everyone around me is working very hard as well, so I should do the same. Of course, then I notice that they are checking facebook, shopping online or playing card games.

But there is also a disadvantage to working in the library: although you get connected to other people more easily, you really shouldn’t talk with them inside the reading room. And outside where there is space to talk with each other, it still lacks space for working together.

So the idea of open floor plans appeals to me, and the way I work: inspired and energized by discussions with other people. There should be some space to store your books and materials, and there should also be some space for storing students works, which you shouldn’t necessarily share with the whole department. I am just not sure, if this is something which would appeal to everyone and their different ways of working. As an option – yes, definitely. But where to get room for an additional way of working at universities?

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